CMAJ Calls for Abolishing Hospital Parking Fees
In an editorial in the most recent Canadian Medial Association Journal, editor in chief Dr. Rajendra Kale admonishes that parking fees interfere with patient/doctor interactions. He writes:
Almost every hospital doctor in Canada would be able to narrate anecdotes of patients being preoccupied with parking fees. Such distraction interferes with the clinical consultation. For example, some patients (who have often waited several weeks to see a doctor) try to end a consultation abruptly when they realize that they will have to pay for an additional hour for parking. This is parking-centred health care, which is not compatible with patient-centred health care.
Kale cites the 2008 decision that abolished parking fees at NHS hospitals in Scotland. The change was made on compassionate grounds and affirmed the country’s principle of universal access to health care. Shortly afterward, Wales made the same change, for similar reasons.
Arguing for ending the practice of charging for parking at Canadian hospitals, Kale writes,
Those opposed to scrapping parking fees for patients need to recognize that such fees are, for all practical purposes, user fees and a barrier to health care. Using revenue generated from such surrogate user fees for health care is against the health policy objective of the Canada Health Act and could become the subject of a legal challenge.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.